Chenille weave is usually made from Chenille yarn, which is a fancy yarn resembling a furry caterpillar. The Chenille yarn was first made from either silk or wool but is not more commonly made from cotton or viscose. This yarn was first made in the 17th Century in France and is recognised by its long pile.
Chenille weave creates a fabric with a pile. It is typically woven using Chenille yarns as the weft yarns and another fibre for the warp yarns. Usually plain weave is used to make a Chenille fabric but many others can also be used such as twill weave, and when Chenille fabric was first introduced it was quite often woven in an open weave, gauzy manner using a Leno weave.
Today Chenille fabric tends to be woven in a tight weave. The use of another fibre for the warm gives the fabric a better drape and stops it from being too bulky. Silk is a common warp yarn in Chenille fabrics because it is easy to work with, as well as the Chenille. It also makes a good contrast to the textured Chenille yarn as it is very smooth and flowing.
Like most forms of weaving Chenille fabric is woven on a loom, and can be done either by hand or by machine. Although it is usual for it to be made via machine nowadays, hand weaving is still a hobby for many people.
Properties of Chenille Fabrics
- Warm to wear
- Velvety Pile
- Good Drape
- Can be pressed to give a flat appearance
- Frays easily
- Different warp yarns can be used to create fabrics with different characteristics
End Uses of Chenille Fabrics
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